BY JIM MISUNAS
WICHITA – Leave it to Macksville Mustang sophomore Ryan Kuckelman to shock the world.
Kuckelman was seeded sixth, but he surprised the 1A 400-meter field with a career-best winning time of 51.53 at Saturday's 1A state track championship. Kuckelman ran from lane seven, but upset Cheylin runner-up Colton McCarty (51.75) and Quinter's fifth-place Brad Bogerts (52.45), who both entered with faster times.
Kuckelman pulled off the upset in stunning fashion from lane seven.
"Starting off I was going to take out fast because I was in lane seven," he said. "From there on, I just tried to keep my pace, and not let the guys inside of me make up the stagger. On the last 100, I just gutted it out, and give it everything I had."
Kuckelman knew he had a chance, but also knew it required the best race of his life.
"It feels amazing to be a state champion. I’m very glad I ran as well as I did. I was pretty surprised when I won because there were a lot of great runners that I had to beat," he said. "Coming in, I didn’t have the fastest time. But I knew I would be in the mix because I had been running times similar to the other competitors all season."
Kuckelman said Macksville coach Jennifer Gillespie gave him confidence.
"My coaches and teammates told me they believed in me, and they thought I could go out and win," he said. "I knew I won my heat right away, but I didn’t know I finished first overall until we were getting onto the medal stand."
Macksville teammate Cleven Huggins was poised to stake a championship claim in the 1A 110-meter and 300-meter hurdles entering Saturday afternoon's state track finals. Huggins clocked a 15.02 time in Saturday's 110-meter prelims to rank second behind Hamilton's Kelton Buettner (14.92). Huggins earned a pair of third-place state medals in the 110 hurdles (15.18) behind South Gray's Ethan Salmans (14.91) and third in the 300 hurdles behind Buettner (39.87).
"For the most part, my hurdles races have gone well," Huggins said. "I'd like to be No. 1. I'm looking at catching the guy ahead of me in the 300 hurdles who's run 39.97. I had a better shot in the 300 hurdles. The distance between the hurdles in the 300s helps me because I can catch up ground."
Huggins led a pair of relays to third-place finishes. Huggins joined Ivan Torrez, Jason Cleveland and Kuckelman on the 400-meter relay (44.88). Huggins anchored the 1,600-meter relay (3:34.67) with Kuckelman, Cleveland and Alexis Barron leading the way.
2A GIRLS – Ellinwood's Erin Hammeke closed out a terrific three-year run at state with a runner-up 3,200 meters (11:16.43) and a third-place 1,600 meters (5:22.35), both with career-best times. She finished off the day with a sixth place in the 800 meters (2:28.3). Hammeke had placed fourth and ninth in the state 1,600 and fourth and seventh in the state 3,200.
Stanton County's Chesney Peterson swept the 1,600 with a 2A record (5:00.72) and 3,200 (10:47.92).
"I'm really happy with my 3,200 time, my best time ever," Hammeke said. "It was a really great race. It's fun to run with those girls because there's so fast. The 1,600 went really well especially after running the 3,200 earlier today. My first lap was my fastest, but I ran pretty consistent laps after that. The girls pulled me along."
1A GIRLS – Central Plains standout Brynna Hammeke enjoyed a strong day with a runner-up state finish in the high jump (5-2) along with fourth-place finishes in the 200 meters (26.59) and 400 meters (1:00.27). Hammeke keyed the Oilers' third-place finish in the 1,600-meter relay (4:20.65) with Monica Short, Callie Zink and Jennah Jeffrey.
Pawnee Heights Tiger Jaden Carlson placed fifth in the long jump (16-31/4) and teammates Madison Polson earned a sixth-place in the triple jump (33-43/4) and Olivia Hands was sixth in the discus (105-10).
1A BOYS TEAM SCORES–1—Hanover 55; 2—Madison 48; 3—Osborne 42; 4—Hamilton 41; 5—Olpe 38; 6—Beloit St. John's 35; 7—Macksville 34; 8—Meade 32; 9—La Crosse 30; 10—Jackson Heights 23; 23—Pawnee Heights 9; 34—Central Plains 5; 42—Otis-Bison 4
1A BOYS RESULTS
High jump–4—Alec Carlson, Pawnee Heights, 6-2
Long jump–5–Jayce Kohls, Otis-Bison, 20-51/2
Triple jump–2—Carlson, Pawnee Heights, 6-2
Shot put–8–Tyler Holmes, Central Plains, 45-61/2
Javelin–9–Michael Laymon, Central Plains, 154-8
110m hurdles–3—Cleven Huggins, Macksville, 15.18
200m–9—Ryan Kuckelman, Macksville, 23.41
300m hurdles–3—Huggins, Macksville, 40.71
400m–1—Kuckelman, Macksville, 51.53
1,600m–6–Cole Lamatsch, Central Plains, 4:42.56
400 relay–3—Macksville, 44.88 (Ivan Torres, Huggins, Jason Cleveland, Kuckelman)
1,600 relay–3—Macksville, 3:34.67 (Kuckelman, Cleveland, Alexis Barron, Huggins)
1A GIRLS TEAM SCORES–1–Greensburg Kiowa County 64; 2–Hodgeman County 35; 3–Beloit St. John's 34; Oberlin 34; 5–Doniphan West 32.5; 6–Hanover 32; 7–Rexford Golden Plains 31; 8–Central Plains 24; 9–Burlingame 23; 10–Randolph Blue Valley 21; 23–Pawnee Heights 10; 43–Macksville 4; 50–Stafford 1
1A GIRLS RESULTS
200m–4–Brynna Hammeke, Central Plains, 26.59
400m–4–Hammeke, Central Plains, 1:00.27
800m–9–Callie Zink, Central Plains, 2:30.97
1,600m–8—Madison Butler, Macksville, 5:44.78; 12—Darby Smith, St. John, 5:58.35
3,200m–6—Butler, Macksville, 12:19.32; 12—Darby Smith, St. John, 12:55.24
1,600m relay–3—Central Plains, 4:20.65 (Hammeke, Monica Short, Zink, Jennah Jeffrey)
3,200m relay–13—Macksville, 11:01.27 (Abigail Ibarra, Butler, Kambry Adams, Mayce Russell)
High jump–2–Hammeke, Central Plains, 5-4
Long jump–5—Jaden Carlson, Pawnee Heights, 16-31/4; 8—Emily Green, Stafford, 15-11
Shot put—15—Green, Stafford, 32-0
Triple jump–6—Madison Polson, Pawnee Heights, 33-43/4; 11—Kyra Ball, Otis-Bison, 32-1
Discus–6—Olivia Hands, Pawnee Heights, 105-10
2A GIRLS TEAM SCORES–1—Garden Plain 108; 2—Stanton County 48; 3—Valley Heights 44; 4—Bennington 34; 5—Berean Academy 32; 6—Plainville 28; 7—Ellis 27; 8—KC Christian 24; Leon Bluestem 24; Jefferson North 24; 12—Ellinwood 17
2A GIRLS RESULTS
800m–6—Erin Hammeke, Ellinwood, 2:28.3
1,600m–3—Hammeke, Ellinwood, 5:22.35
3,200m–2—Hammeke, Ellinwood, 11:16.43
2A BOYS SCORES—1—Garden Plain 73; 2—KC Christian 44; 3—Oakley 37; 4—Hoxie 35; 5—Wichita County 33; Moundridge 33; 7—Hillsboro 32; 8—Inman 31; 9—Berean Academy 26; 10—WaKeeney-trego 25, Sterling 25
High jump–15—Parker Scheck, Ellinwood, no height